RASC Snowflake

Rainier Auto Sports Club  

The Wishbone Alley Gazette

December, 2002

Club Meeting

No regular business meeting. Jerry and Colleen Hines will host a club social on Sunday, December 8.

Rally News

Totem Rally- by Steve Willey

This year TeamD headed up to Totem Rally 2002 with three cars, two of the crews experiencing rallying in BC for the first time.  Most things that are fun are enhanced by having friends along- that's definitely true for rallying.  Our little convoy sang to the clicky-click of studded tires on pavement as we headed out from Seattle with Dan Comden and Steve Wiper in a Chevy Blazer (more on that later), Marvin Crippen and Jim Hogan in Jim's silver WRX, and myself with Eric Horst in Eric's BMW 325 ix. 

This year's Totem saw 32 rally teams competing across two days worth of beautiful BC scenery.  Cache Creek and Williams Lake hosted the event Friday and Saturday nights respectively, with the finish and awards ceremony back in Cache Creek.  Road conditions varied across every spectrum; muddy to solid, icy to dry, snow to clear; sometimes all in one section of road.  The weather was clear and pleasant with a few flakes of snow in the higher elevation bits Sunday and the rain holding off until the drive home Sunday night. 

Greg Hightower and Russ Kraushaar were there to show everyone how it's done.  They had an impressive 5 points at the end of the day Saturday. Somehow the crews must have lost their times since they _still_ had 5 points at the end of Sunday!  It's awesome to see zero penalty points for any day of rallying, even more amazing on a challenging event with vigorously varying road conditions.  Bravo dudes!

Our rally performance was solid with Eric adapting to the conditions quickly and keeping us on time most of the time.  Toward the end of the day Sunday I was fatiguing and caused us to miss a turn that came up sooner than I expected.  It was an excellent chance for Eric to get some hero driving in while winding up the narrow and twisty Deadman-Cache Creek road.  We picked-up 16 penalty points on Saturday and followed with 4 more points on Sunday for a total of 20, good enough for 4th Overall and 3rd in Unlimited Class.  BC winter scoring rules were in effect so the scores are lower than raw time differences. 

The Totem/Thunderbird terrain is littered with rally memories (and a few of my tools).  I got to see the place where my Rover was rolled last year and where we got a flat tire in '99 only to find the spare under-inflated.  If those roads could talk ... our insurance rates would be much, much higher. 

Eric's BMW 325ix performed flawlessly and if there could have been a single best tire choice for the multitude of road conditions I think it was probably the studded Hakkas that our car and many others were running. 

TeamD has always been known for rallying some larger then average vehicles, only occasionally bending them up.  In keeping with the rally-what-you-got approach Dan Comden and Steve Wiper set out to prove that big is indeed beautiful with Dan's huge red Chevy Blazer.  This was Steve's first rally but you wouldn't know it by their performance.  They brought the big rally rig home for 2nd in Calculator class - way to go guys!

Jim Hogan and Marvin Crippen had problems with an odometer cable repeatedly coming disconnected but still rallied at a high level and finished with 3rd in the Calculator class.

Most of Totem rally area is open rangeland and one of car #1's (us) duties is cattle herding.  Midday Sunday we came upon a big 'ole steer standing in the middle of the narrow road.  We were on his turf and he didn't care how many cents the visit would cost us.  As we slowed approaching him he was decided what he should do with this loud black Bavarian beast, was it a Bessie or a Brutus?  Hump it or ram it?  We moved to the left and he took a step in the same direction.  While he was still making up his mind we snuck by unscathed, but I wondered what a bull would think of the red Subaru that would soon be bearing down on it.   

We were able to clinch the Rainier Auto Sports Club division of the event by very narrowly pipping our club mates Steve Richards and Gary Reid by a few points.  Judging from the way the scores came in Sunday it looks like it came down to who flinched more while circumnavigating the notorious 'yawning pit of death'. 

Our hats are off to all of the Totem 2002 competitors and especially the top finishers: Greg Hightower/ Russ Kraushaar (1st overall, 1st Unlimited), John Fouse / Dennis Wende (2nd overall, 2nd Unlimited), and Peter/Owen Parsonage (third overall, 1st Novice). 

Being the last event of the year Totem was the deciding event for many challenges and championships, namely: The Pacific Coast Challenge, The Rallyequipment.com Novice Series, and The Yokohama BC Rally Championship.  Our congratulations to the winners of those competitions.

And big, big TeamD thanks to Paul and all of the BC Rally folks for putting together such a fine damn rally.  As usual we're impressed with your organization, roads, and scenery.  Keep up the good work and we'll see you in February.


Totem Rally 2002, by Ron Sorem © 2002

We arrived Friday night.  The Subaru RX Rally Team (Ron Sorem and Max Vaysburd), passed tech inspection, applied the necessary numbers and decals, and settled in for dinner and rally lore with a good sized group ready for 2002 Totem on snow.

Saturday morning brought the reality of no snow, some mud, and some ditch-to-ditch ice.  Tire choice was highly discussed and our choice of studded Hakkas seemed right.

With exception of Car 1 being the BMW 325ix of Eric Horst and Steve Willey, the next seven cars were Subaru, as were 15 of the 33 entries.  The first six cars on the road were Unlimited.  Car 7, Gary and Travis Rea in a WRX, was Calculator.  Max and I were Car 8 in the RX, running USA “Equipped” in BC’s “Unlimited” class with the AlfaPRO odo and an unattached laptop.  The competition would be very tight.

Car 2, Greg Hightower and Russ Kraushaar in Greg’s red 2.5RS, was my target.  Greg and I were tied for Pacific Coast Challenge driver's points coming into Totem, with Eric Horst close behind.

Car 3 was the nearly unbeatable team of John Fouse and Dennis Wende in John’s white WRX.  That is, white at the start.  By the Service Break all the cars were light brown.

Further back in the pack were Novice phenoms Peter and Owen Parsonage, the BC father and son team in a red Impreza 2.5RS pressing all the computer cars.  Also present and ever the threat in SOP were Dan and Stuart Fealk, son and father running Paper class; Stuart doing all the speed calcs with just pen and lots of paper, Dan keeping it between the ditches in their red Subaru XT6.

At the driver’s meeting, Rallymaster Paul Westwick apologized for the lack of snow, explaining one section had been dropped for fear few cars would make it through the mud, and that the “cautions” were to be taken seriously—no trees to slow your decent should you leave the road.  Also, hitting any of the cattle would probably do you more harm than to the cattle.  We were reminded to be certain to fuel at the Service Breaks, as it would be over 250km without another fuel opportunity.

The first “confidence trap” came on the Odo Check, which ended at a bridge, on the fly, but very near two similar signs.  The zero point was at the bridge, not the concrete guardrail where many cars were parked.  There aren’t supposed to be traps on BC rallies.  A quick u-turn to double check we’d correctly read the reference points, and re-zero, and then continue north.

The rally left Highway 97 for the 88km Meadow Lake Regularity.  This is the surface change test:  Dry gravel, wet gravel, occasional puddles and mud, then a glimpse of snow--immediate crest, full snow, medium right off camber, sideways and recover--wide awake now!!  I don’t know how the icy mud and gravel treated the first couple of cars, but by the time we came through the consistency was similar to brown crushed ice.

A short transit, then due south.  The Jesmond Regularity was 55km of 72- and 60-km/h with one caution and one 1/2km at 27k.  My speedo barely registers at 27k (16.8mph).  Into Clinton and Service, to compare notes and/or rally stories.

North of Clinton the 88km Big Bar Regularity was our first nemesis.  I apparently forgot how to drive on loose surfaces.  I took a “4” and a “6” along with several real “zeroes”, then local traffic came into play just in time for “Caution! through narrow gorge” and hairpin exposures.  On-time coming in, late at the hidden control in the middle of the downhill hairpin with a speed change.

At 72.02 “Caution!! 90R, Exposure L”…  this is one of the notes from the drivers meeting; past events have seen big “offs” here.  1996 Thunderbird saw a several-hundred-foot skid with no trees to slow the action.  There is no snow and it’s daylight, but this all looks vaguely familiar.  In 1971 on Thunderbird I was being caught through here on every corner, then I could open up on the straights.  At 84.72 this must be my corner.  It now has a warning sign; the route book says “Caution! Exposure L”.  In ’71 it was snow and ice and pitch dark, and the instruction was “Caution. Blind Crest. Hard Right. Hard Left.”  I made the blind crest but missed the hard right— This year I was more cautious.  We pass the control at Dog Creek Road and end the stage before the Fraser River Suspension Bridge, toward Gang Ranch.  In all the years I’ve rallied up here this will be my first trip through Gang Ranch.  It seems my drive has always ended early each time events have used this road.

Gang Ranch stage is 79.87km through one of the largest cattle operations in North America and as we transit through the ranch yard and past pastureland being worked, a BIG farm tractor is parked with headlights toward the road, watching the parade.  At 7.93 we are downhill into a “Bridge, Caution! Slippery”.  What the instruction didn’t mention was the big drop-off entering the bridge.  Brake hard, nose down, time the rebound, and launch onto the bridge deck.  At 12.92 “CG, Caution! Watch for Cows”, and sure enough they are everywhere, just room for one car between BIG brown bodies.  We later learn that Car 1 has awakened the herd and Car 2, Hightower’s red Impreza has helped to open the path for following competitors.  At about 40.00 we find our first really big water splash.  The center looks bad, the road has expanded around it on both sides.  I take the right side, part road part field.  It is still deep wet and rough.  I can’t imagine which line Car 9, Steve Brown and David Glassman, will take in the Audi S4 Avant.

Riske Creek Transit and Meldrum Regularity are uneventful.  Hargreaves Transit back across the Fraser River is normally a regularity but takes us now to Soda Creek, 11.46km to the Williams Lake city limits, and another 11km transit to dinner.  We are 5th UNL, 6th OA with another RX, RJ Carroll and Ren Carroll, close behind.

Day Two promised to be different.  Rally Staff were quiet, with knowing smiles when asked about the roads.  Different.

Our day started with a mystery—absolutely no electrical power.  No ignition, no lights, just the “key-in-door-open” chime.  It is still dark.  Did I leave a dome light on?  A passer-by offers a jump—cables connected, no spark.  What the….?  Are the cables broken?  I short the ends across—Oh Yeah!! His battery is hot, the cables are hot, and my battery is hot.  OK what now.  Panic.  Go through a mental checklist—fuses, ignition switch—no power.  Gather one’s thoughts.  Fusible links?  There are four; I don’t recall what they protect.  Wiggle and prod.  A click, another wiggle, and the link disintegrates in my fingers.  I get another from the “spares” box.  Engine fires off like nothing had happened.  Whew!

Breakfast and Route Books and a very brief driver’s meeting with a hint that we may or may not like the roads.  Different.

We head out on the opening transit.  I remember the first part of the route from 2000 T-Bird.  The day should start well.  Not so fast… 1/2km before the Regularity we are flashed down by the Parsonages—Owen yells out the window:  “You are steaming”.  The cloud catches us—it’s not steam.  SMOKE!  Great – turns out the power steering pipe-to-pump fitting has loosened and is shooting oil all over everything.  Tighten the culprit, refill with fluid—no leaks—arrive at the start still smoking but on-time.  Steering is heavy but do-able.  We will use the "Carlos Sainz WRC Focus" excuse if needed.

Spokin Lake to Lac La Hache is over 80km of smooth wide gravel with bits and pieces of twisty narrow snow.  Yes, the road conditions are different.  Lac La Hache through Helena Lake to 100 Mile House is another 58km with snow and mud and locals.  We did OK with all three, and arrive at the Service Break with no further problems and carrying low scores.

Leg 4 is to be two Regularities of 91.52 and 80.98 km.  Ample opportunity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  (We would later learn it wouldn’t matter—Greg and Russ would zero the whole day).  We ran through snow and frozen mud—the tracks of hunters and loggers don’t work well for small cars.  You are in one rut, straddle another then switch—planned or not.  Then sweeping open corners with exposures and a caution:  “Car Breaking Cross Ditch” at 20km/h, which might still have been too fast.  This was indeed rough.  Muddy; slide off to the left, crawl over rocks, recover, then blow the control!

At 47.26 Max reads “Bridge”, then “Do Not Pass”.  Well, what I heard was bridge coming up, then do-not-pass.  I had just caught local traffic.  Pretty slow, pretty wide… What do you mean I can’t pass!?  OK, I’ll pass before the do-not-pass section… You know, fatigue does funny things to communication.  I passed, got back to on-time, only to the see the “Do Not Pass” school bus sign reference.  We chuckled about that for a couple of minutes.

“Deadman-Cache Creek Road” is different without snow.  Faster.  At 73.23 “Caution! (a.k.a. The Yawning Pit of Death)”.  Legend is sometimes worse than reality.  I had never seen this set of corners, but heard of it in many stories.  With snow it would be very different.  We were on-time at the top, down six coming out, and still down a little as we passed the last control.

Rally over.  We finished 6th UNL with 46, our best yet, having been caught by the Carrolls with 35.  A great rally, and YES!, I had finished.


1st UNL 1st OA       Greg Hightower/Russ Kraushaar      Subaru 2.5RS, 5 pts

2nd UNL 2nd OA     John Fouse/Dennis Wende               Subaru WRX, 11pts

1st NOV 3rd OA      Peter Parsonage/Owen Parsonage    2.5RS, 17 pts.

1st HIST 9th OA      Gil Stuart/Arnie Lang                         

Volvo 123GT, 105 pts.

1st CALC 10th OA  Jeff Vanderwall/Nicole Vanderwall    Colt, 111 pts.

1st PAPER 15th OA                Dan Fealk/Stuart Fealk                        Subaru XT6, 149 pts.          

Thanks to the WCRA and Paul, Tony, Andrew, Bill, Shelly & Fred, and more.


Day Three?           We left Cache Creek pre-dawn, having checked the oil, coolant, and power steering.  17km before Boston Bar the motor violently expelled all its coolant and quit.  An hour later having found what might be a leak—emphasis on “might”, I had the engine running and a highway department truck blocking my rear bumper.  We take off, get five seconds further south and do our best imitation of a steam locomotive.  The highway guy radios for help.  We are picked up by Boston Bar Towing and delivered to U-Haul in Chilliwack.  I trailer home for the second straight Totem.  Max may have had the quote of the day—“next time… I’ll bring warmer clothes  -for Thunderbird”.

We’ll see you next rally.

Subaru RX Rally Team ronsorem@hotmail.com

FOR SALE / Wanted:

* 1989 Mazda MPV, burgundy, 120K miles, 7 passenger. "Jerry wants it out of his life=year end special= $1280". (below low book…) Jerry Hines, 425-823-6343.

* '83 Audi Quattro Coupe. Red.  Asking $8,000.00 (with all the rally goodies, less with them removed.. ) 175K miles.  Good condition.  Some upgrades for reliability.  New head gasket.  Lots more.  Lost Patrol survivor and Thunderbird winner.  ('97, 1st overall) ;  e-mail Peter Linde: <pjnconn@yahoo.com>

RASC Calendar---------------------------

• Call the NWRC Hotline (206) 256-9627 for latest info on Puget Sound TSD events..

NW SCCA Stage Rally activity:

  • Jan 25     - Rally Banquet, Ft Lewis Golf Club DuPont, WA
  • Feb ?      ORV Splash Dash, McCleary, WA 
  • March 1- Doo Wop I, )Hoquiam, WA
  • March 2- Doo Wop II, Montesano, WA
  • April 12 Reno I, Reno, NV
  • April 13- Reno II, Reno, NV
  • June 7- Dryad Quest, Shelton, WA
  • June 8- Shitepoke, Shelton, WA
  • July 12- Oregon Trail, Hillsboro, OR
  • July 13- Trail's End. Hillsboro, OR
  • Aug 2  ORV Rallysprint I, McCleary, WA
  • Aug 3- ORV Rallysprint II, McCleary, WA
  • Sept 6- Sou'Wester, Olympia, WA
  • Sept 7- Simpson Stages, Shelton, WA
  • Oct 11- Mt. Hood,  Hood River, OR


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